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Panzanella: Italian bread salad recipes

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Panzanella recipes

What better way to get in the mood for spring than with the classic Italian bread salad -- panzanella. This dish, typical of the spring and summer months in Italy, is made with fresh tomatoes and basil, good olive oil and vinegar, and crusty day old bread. Panzanella sings its best flavors with ripe tomatoes and fresh basil, bringing an early taste of the warm months just waiting around the corner.

Panzanella

Panzanella recipes


Springtime Panzanella

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:
6 cups day-old bread, crust removed, cubed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Half a red onion, finely diced
2 to 2-1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 large leeks, trimmed, halved, and rinsed
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1 (19-ounce) can of white beans, rinsed and drained

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss bread with 1/4 cup oil, garlic, Parmesan, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread bread mixture onto a baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy, mixing a few times to toast evenly. Remove pan and reserve.

2. Combine onion with vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and Dijon into vinegar mixture. Set aside.

3. Cook leeks in salted water for 15 to 20 minutes or until softened. Remove leeks with a slotted spoon and dunk in ice water. Using the same water, cook asparagus 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dunk in ice water.

4. Slice leeks and asparagus into bite-sized pieces and combine in a large bowl with beans and croutons. Drizzle with vinegar Dijon mixture, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

>> Spring into salad recipes


Summer Panzanella

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:
6 cups day old Italian bread, torn into bite-size pieces
2/3 cup olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
3/4 cup sliced red onion
10 basil leaves, shredded
1/2 cup pitted and halved green olives
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss bread with 1/3 cup oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread bread mixture onto a baking sheet and bake 5 to 10 minutes or until crispy, mixing a few times to toast evenly. Remove pan and reserve.

2. Whisk remaining oil with vinegar. In a bowl, toss croutons with tomatoes, onions, basil, olives and cheese. Drizzle with vinegar mixture and season with salt and pepper. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

>> Sizzling summer salads


Winter Panzanella

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:
3 bunches beets, peeled and quartered
3 shallots, peeled and quartered
2 sprigs fresh oregano
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh marjoram
Salt and pepper
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 loaf crusty bread, cubed
1/2 blood orange, juiced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup sliced dates
1 bunch arugula
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place beets and shallots on a piece of tin foil and sprinkle with oregano, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1-1/2 tablespoons of oil and gently toss. Fold foil around vegetables, place on a baking sheet, and roast in oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

2. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and toss with 1-1/2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until crispy. Remove from oven and reserve.

3. Meanwhile, whisk orange juice, vinegar, 4 tablespoons olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Combine croutons, vegetables, arugula, and dates in a bowl. Drizzle with orange juice mixture, gently toss. Sprinkle goat cheese on top.

>> Warm - yes, warm - winter salads


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